Master's Degree in Administration of Justice

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Institutions of social control are in constant change due in part to the public's demand for a quality system of justice. In this climate, government at all levels is insisting on a higher level of intellectual and educational preparation for those who desire to significantly participate in the operation and administration of its criminal justice systems. In response to these needs, the Department of Criminal Justice developed the master of science degree program in administration of justice in 1983. In 1999, the program was significantly revised to make it more consistent with its contemporaries yet unique enough to serve our special populations. The program is designed for in-service and pre-service students. Practitioners raise their level of education while adding research and theory to the in-field experiences. Pre-service students gain direct and indirect benefits from the program as they study and interact with experienced professionals. The program enhances career potentials for both groups of graduate students.

The program's major strengths are its applied perspective and strong emphasis on theory, policy, research, and analysis. Philosophy, format, and implementation stresses the practical application of a higher level of knowledge, skills, and strategies. The methodological and theory components are highly suitable as a preparation for entering advanced graduate studies and other professional programs.

The Department of Criminal Justice currently offers two Master's degree programs. The first is a traditional Master's program (referred to as the trad grad program), while the second is the Juvenile Courts Judges' Commission (JCJC) program. The traditional program is comparative to other graduate programs across the region, designed for students who are coming straight from an undergraduate program, as well as students who are currently working in the field. The JCJC program is designed for working professionals in the field of Juvenile Probation and related fields may be eligible for a graduate degree fully subsidized by the Juvenile Courts Judges' Commission (JCJC) program held exclusively at Shippensburg University. For more information, please click on Juvenile Courts Judges' Commission.

  • A bachelor's degree in criminal justice, administration of justice, or related social science field from a regionally accredited college or university.
  • Minimum grade point average of a 2.75 on a 4.0 scale. Applicants with less than a 2.75 undergraduate GPA will be required to take the Graduate Requisite Examination (GRE) and provide a sufficient score before they are eligible for admission. They may also take the Millers Analogies Test (MAT) and provide a sufficient score.
  • In 500 words or less provide a Statement of Interest indicating your reasons for pursuing this program, your professional goals, and how this degree will help fulfill said goals.
  • Students are invited to provide an optional resume.

To qualify for the degree of master of science in administration of justice, you must complete a minimum of 36 credit hours of graduate work.

Administration of Justice Graduate Degree Requirements (PDF)

With Department of Criminal Justice approval, and providing the student meets the requirements of the department offering the course, 3-9 credits of courses numbered 500 and above can be taken from one or more of the following: Counseling, Educational Leadership and Policy, Geography/Earth Science, History, Political Science, Psychology and Special Education. These courses may be substituted for criminal justice electives up to a maximum of nine credits. Administration of Justice students are not permitted to schedule 400-level courses as graduate credits.

Graduate assistantships are available to students who want to enhance their learning experience by assisting the faculty with research, teaching and other tasks during the academic year. Graduate assistantships may be available during the fall, spring, and summer. For more information about graduate assistantships contact the Department of Criminal Justice's Graduate Coordinator, Dr. Matthew Fetzer at or (717) 477-1630. To complete an application or check the availability of Graduate Assistantships, please click here.